Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Inappropriate Outfit?

Last night I got into a screaming match with a prison guard.

I've been a volunteer teacher at San Quentin State Prison for about nine years (I started a couple days after I turned 22).  Naturally, I'm extremely familiar with the "dress code"--no denim, no open-toed shoes, nothing sleeveless, no orange, etc. etc.  I've never been turned away from the prison for what I was wearing . . . until tonight.

Each Monday night, I have to face an extremely rude prison guard at the East Gate, where I enter the prison.  He inspects my license (even though he has seen me for years & years), grunts, and hands me my prison identification card.  My theories:

1. He is sexist.
2. He is miserable.
3. He hates volunteers and teachers because he figures we're all convict sympathizers.

In any case, tonight, when I stepped out of my car, he barked, "What are you wearing?  You can't wear that!"  I looked genuinely confused, as I was dressed conservatively.  He mumbled something about my "tights," said, "Don't wear it again," and shuffled off to retrieve my prison ID.

But I had questions.  Because this is what I was wearing (I stopped at Target on the way home for two reasons--to buy wine and to take this picture, so that I could send it to the powers that be at the prison):

super slutty, right??

So I said, "Officer ****, I don't understand--" and he cut me off and yelled, "YOU DON'T NEED TO UNDERSTAND!"  And yet, I did need to understand, because I come in every week, and I can't afford to be sent home each Monday.  I spend an hour commuting and a $5 toll to volunteer.  We started a brand new quarter last week, and I had lots of new students . . . now, they're going to think I just decided not to show up for class tonight.  I was enraged.

After I challenged him, he told me that I couldn't teach my class.  Said, "You're not coming in tonight.  Go home.  BYE."  Obviously, this infuriated me, and I told him he was being an asshole and leveraging his power inappropriately, and that I was going to contact the warden immediately.  We shouted at each other for a few heated seconds before I sped off in a fit of rage.

Almost nothing angers me more than abuse of power.  You better believe I fired off an email to a few folks at the prison right away, with this picture attached.  

Have you ever been disrespected this way?  If so, enlighten me: how do you deal with it without losing your shit?  My temper is my Achilles heel.  I've got to learn to deal with injustice without going all savage on people.  Cause even though he deserved it (and he damn sure deserved it), it didn't really get me anywhere.

Any funny news, jokes, or links would be especially appreciated today.  Sigh.


Brooke said...

Sounds like a total jerk. I might try the old kill him with kindness routine! If you can stand it. ;-)

Your a tough girl for working at that place!



KatiePerk said...

I am the same way. I react with anger. I am sorry! I don't see the problem with your outfit and am curious, what the warden says.

holli said...

That totally bites! Your outfit seemed great to me. You're totally covered and there's nothing revealing about it. I used to volunteer every Monday for a boys correctional institute for a few years. I had to make sure i put a lot of thought in getting dressed that day. The sucky thing is that i have enormous boobs. I could wear a quilt wrapped around me and you would still be able to tell i have boobs. I was stopped alot at the gate so they could determine if my shirt was loose enough. I NEVER wore tight clothing- i think they just enjoyed checking out my boobs every Monday. Geesh!!! Hang in there girlie. Good news is that SOA comes on tonight. Every week has been awesome.

Helene said...

Wow!! That is totally crazy and I am so sorry you had to go through that. You were completely right in feeling like that- if that's any consolation.
Do Dallas Cheap

AmericanBridget (Jones) said...

My friend you are mature enough to even realize that he is not happy with his either life or job or both. He probably had a rough time of it at home or work and you were the brunt of his anger. You are right to go above him and contact the powers that be. And to think you are a volunteer doing this is amazing. You're work is appreciated.

Charlie's Mommy (Beth) said...

Wow...my jaw is on the floor. I hope you follow up and tell us if this a-hole gets reprimanded.

It's so sad that people like him can't see the good that you do for people who may not even deserve compassion and what you do. But they are human and what you do is truly amazing.

Dee Stephens said...

ARGHH..I'm not good with stuff like this too.
I didn't think you would say that he sent you home. THAT WOULD HAVE PISSED ME OFF!
I bet it was the ankle boots that he felt were 'sexy'.
You're going to have to update on us on the outcome of this one.

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

i have a lot to say about this.

first, i can't see anything about your outfit that could be perceived as inappropriate.

second, i'm glad you sent the appropriate emails, and i hope that guard will be shoved from his high horse and reminded that he may have some control over inmates, but seeing as how you aren't an inmate, well, he should learn manners.

third, i hate, hate, hate when people have a superiority complex and abuse their power or position. i work part time for my mother-in-law, and i can't tell you how many times i've been treated like a minion and talked down to simply because she's the manager. i ALWAYS wear clothes that are appropriate, follow the office dress code, and are not revealing (as most of my clients are males and think that i'm interested in their flirting), and i can't even count the number of times she's had a problem with a piece of clothing, or the entire outfit. it makes me livid.

anyway, this may be the longest comment ever, but i get it. and you want something to cheer you up? read the comments here http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/10/15/charity-president-unhappy-about-paul-ryan-soup-kitchen-photo-op/?hpid=z1 the one about only repubs needing to put on rubber gloves to scrub a clean pot cracked me up!

Erin @ Sassin' Southern Style said...

This hasn't ever happened to me as much as I can recall, but I will share my favorite joke with you...

What does a nosy pepper do?

He's jalapeno business.

I hope you have a better day today!

undomestic chica said...

Watch the baby video!

If I were at home, I'd say let's skype and have some cocktails together. Day drunk is ok once in a while, right?

Bonnie Brown Real said...

UGH! There goes my blood pressure. The "toughen up" video is my new cure for everything. Tell that dude he does NOT want to do a fight with you.


mommyspice said...

Good Lord woman cover up! I cannot believe that happened! What a piece of shit. I used to have an old boss that was a bitch for no reason all the time and one day it clicked. Work was the only place she felt important or had any "power". It doesn't excuse his behavior for being a little bitch, especially when you're volunteering and trying to do good.

And now my joke. What's the difference between a Giants hot dog and a Dodgers hot dog?

You can get a Giants hot dog in October :)

Hope you're day gets better!

Lesley said...

maybe he has a thing for tights? after all our years of being friends... this is one of THE most conservative outfits i've seen you in! so ridiculous. good for you for ratting him out. i hope that you get some action out of it. indeed, i imagine he lives a pretty miserable existence and is looking for control.

sorry, friend! you are trying to do such a noble thing. what a crying shame that he would pick on you. :(

Ro said...

So... after reading this... this gchat happened with Ashley (ashleymcglass.blogspot.com)... I hope you find the humor in it :)

me: do you read bicoastally?
Ashley: is that a joke?
me: psh I dunno… I assumed you did since I found her thru skinny jeans
But... I ask anyways, don’t be rude.
Ashley: bahaha… oh man, ok, I get it… it’s a blog
I thought you meant, do I read on both coasts...
me: hahahaha
Ashley: right?!
me: “I’m not an ambi-reader...”
Ashley: bahahahahahhaha
I literally lol
me: oh man
Ashley: I’m still laughing
This whole time
Give me her link please
me: I just read this post and wanted to discuss: http://bicoastally.blogspot.com/2012/10/inappropriate-outfit.html
Ashley: I’m reading
Poor gal
She looks FINE
I mean...?
me: I would agree!
Like, it’s not even leggings with a short shirt
She looks like a nun lol
Ashley: precisely
That’s what I thought
Orthodox Jew
me: slut
me: I was just throwing synonyms out there…

To summarize: You outfit is approved by Robin and Ashley. And thanks for giving us a good laugh this morning :)

NYLON Girl said...

You looked too hot, hot stuff :p

Also people who abuse their power annoy me greatly it's a burden but hopefully they will see the error of their ways. I hope he says sorry and you're such a great volunteer! See you soon. :-)

drollgirl said...

OMFG. i would have hit the roof!!!!!! clearly i have anger issues too! what a TOTAL ASSHOLE! if there was indeed a problem with the outfit, it would be his responsibility to IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM. hello?!?!! is that asking too much!!!!!!!!!!

my fucking twat landlord sent me an (another) infuriating email. my rent check arrived on 10/1 in the afternoon. she said this "wasn't good enough" as the rent was due on 10/1 and had to clear her BANK on 10/1. give me a fucking break. but i know from past experience if i argue with her we will argue for hours, days, weeks, and she will never back down. so i didn't respond to her stupid email, which i happen to know pisses her off. OMFG i hate that woman so much.

i am sorry i don't have any good advice. but i am glad you brought this up with the warden, and i hope this jackass guard has been set straight.

omfg i want to go beat him up! asshole!

Summer Athena said...

his mood had nothing to do with you. it's ridiculous.

Andiepants said...

That man was an a*hole!
I worked in a day program for adults diagnosed with mental illness and many a times I had to talk to a counselor or a volunteer about their proper attire. Inappropriate was:
low cut shirts, bare midriffs, pants so low you could tell you weren't even wearing a thong (yes, this happened), coming to volunteer high/drunk, racing to get the "better" chair with other clients, knowing more about the client and why they broke up with their boyfriend because you called them last night...you catch my drift. And yes, this all happened and "Volunteer RULES" were created because of one girl that did all this.
You were dressed appropriately, he should not have addressed you in that manner and with such disrespect!!! Please keep us posted on what the warden says!

Leesh said...

I don't even know what to say to this, I would be just as upset as you. The guy is a jerk and is probably getting his rag (sorry for the language but I believe guys get a pretend period and it was probably his time of the month)

Christina said...

For real? I can’t even see any of your skin? You’re like a mime! Haha! But really, that’s pretty outrageous. I hope there are some consequences for his actions.

Deals, Steals and Heels said...

i love that i can see your ragey face even behind your phone taking the picture.

and those boots? send them my way =)

as for the outfit thing, when i was in 7th grade, i had a bottom locker, AND at my school we couldn't have backpacks. so one day i was wearing a dress, and had to squat down to get my books, then stand up and carry them all to class. i got stopped by out evil bitch of a vice principal who said my dress was too short and i needed to go home. except it was only too short BECAUSE I HAD MY ARMS FULL OF BOOKS AND HAD JUST BEEN SQUATTING ON THE GROUND. i had no way to fix it without dropping everything. i was so upset, but i was 12 and hated confrontation, so i called my mom who thankfully had the day off and could come get me to change outfits.

AND this was back when i was 5'1", not after my 7 inch growth spurt the next year.

i'm STILL mad about it.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Jerk. Total jerk acting out on his other issues on you. I have a temper too and got told off by an angry customer at the supermarket because I was speaking up for the cashier he was already yelling at!
Anyway, you look great and totally covered up. Get the warden to teach him a lesson.

Chic 'n Cheap Living

nicoleciomek said...

UGH. How obnoxious. I would have been yelling too. I too have a temper and I can lose my cool pretty fast if I am not careful.

I have found that the best thing to do is walk away. There is nothing you can say in those moments that will really make a difference, you'll just raise your blood pressure. If someone is that irrational, talking calmly and trying to reason won't work as sad as that is.

In a situation like that, I might have asked to speak with his supervisor, or someone else at the prison.... but if that isn't a viable option. Walk away, and deal with it through other channels - like the warden.

As I know you know, looked great and entirely appropriate.

Kathy said...

how horrible.... i'm sorry you had to go through that. i've learned that the best thing is to walk away; esp when someone is acting like that and then go straight to his supervisor.

your outfit was totally appropriate; it's not like you were wearing a bathing suit!

Micaela said...

oh claire, this is so much worse than i thought when we texted. I would have lost my shit too-- you looked BEAUTIFUL and COMPLETELY covered! it was a complete misuse of "power" and i hope that the emails you sent are heard.


I would have some really terrible customers when I worked as a cashier and i tried to kill them with kindness-- all the while trying not to lose my cool or cry.

meghan said...

I'm late on this. Sorry. I can't believe this happened to you, and I'm so sorry. I wish I knew what to say, but I have no idea. Have you gotten anywhere with this? He sounds like a terrible person.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

That's INSANE that he wouldn't let you inside in that outfit! Please update us and let us know if they get back to you. I don't see anything wrong with that outfit at all!

Meghan said...

This infuriates me, because you are unselfishly giving your time to help others, and someone who is insecure with himself has prevented you from doing so. Ugh. Just know that YOU are amazing, Claire, and I hope this is rectified soon!

Lindsey said...

I am still not ok with this incident. Any new new s about it???